"Do we have any idea where to start, or are we going to aimlessly and uselessly walk around?" Myka asked, trudging through the rainy streets beside Pete. Steve and Claudia walked two steps ahead of them. Being sent off to look for mundane items imbued with supernatural powers, as strange a situation as it was, felt like an odd demotion, a rejection of sorts. The Doctor was back at the Hub and here she was, on the streets with Pete. The terrible weather didn't help matters. While she'd enjoyed talking to Steve, it was something that could have been done anywhere but a cold, rainy street.
He snickered at the irritation in her voice. "Cheer up; you get to spend time with me. Do you want to go get tacos first?"
"First of all, I don't think Cardiff is known for great tacos. And second of all, we have a job to do. The sooner it's over, the better. I will not be dealing with any of your childishness today."
He covered his mouth in a vain effort to hide his laughter. "One, there is no such thing as a not-great taco. And two, has anyone ever mentioned that you look like a crazy giraffe when you're mad?"
"You are such a child! It has been so nice not having to deal with you!" She sped up, falling into line next to Claudia. The younger woman looked up, and Myka nodded a strained hello. "Hey. Sorry, I know it must be strange having me along and joining your team here."
Claudia shrugged. She was an immensely likable young woman, and when she smiled, Myka smiled back. "No, it's nice. We've all heard that you're a great agent."
"Yeah," Steve agreed, "we don't hold running out against you."
"Thanks." She sighed and shoved her hands deeper in her pockets. It seemed to get colder every second. "So do we have a plan, other than Pete's terrible idea of getting tacos?"
"What we usually do is look for things that don't fit," Steve explained, "like anything out of place or strange. I figure that'll work just as well here."
Myka nodded. "Okay. So how do we find things like that if we're just wandering the streets?"
Before anyone could answer, a shout rang out from above them and a table came flying through a window, followed by a shower of broken glass.
"Ah," Myka said. "I see."
"Last one up is a loser!" Pete shouted, and Claudia took off after him, entering the building and dashing up the stairs.
Steve and Myka exchanged a look and a tired smile. They followed the other two at a much slower pace. When they reached the fourth floor, the one that was now lacking a chair, Pete and Claudia were already knocking on a closed door.
"Fox Mulder, FBI Special Agent!" Pete shouted, rapping on the door.
"Dude, I think they have The X-Files in Wales too," Claudia said.
Pete rubbed his chin in consideration before deciding on a second option. "Dale Cooper, FBI Special Agent! Let us in!"
"I don't think the names are the issue," Steve said, "I think the issue is that you're claiming to be from the FBI…in Cardiff."
"No, I think the issue is that you're standing here discussing which fictional character you want to be while someone is probably in serious trouble in that room." Myka silenced them all, as authoritative as she had always been. It was enough to make a team she had no connection to listen when she spoke, and she couldn't help a surge of pride. The Doctor never made her feel inferior, but she was as close as Myka had come to an equal, and there was something nice about being at the top again. She couldn't resist barking out the order: "Stop being foolish and get us in there."
Pete, giving up on his best efforts to be an imaginary FBI agent, broke the cheap door down easily, and the four of them poured into the room.
A young man in a tattered flannel shirt and a faded pair of jeans stood in the room, wrestling with a heavy armchair. He had headphones on and the shrieking of guitars was clearly audible through them.
"I think he's trying to throw that chair out the window too," Claudia said. She stood arms akimbo, staring at the oblivious man.
"That appears to be the case," Steve agreed.
"Yo! Dude!" Pete shouted. When there was no reaction, he began to jump up and down in a ridiculous dance that made Claudia giggle and earned a grin from Steve.
Myka stared at Pete for several seconds as he made a fool of himself, but she finally couldn't stand it any longer. In three long strides, she was beside the young man, and she ripped off the headphones. They flew loose into her hands; they hadn't been connected to anything but the inside of his pocket. "We need to talk!" she shouted.
The man looked at her, wide-eyed and flushed, for a moment. Then he swayed and collapsed, Pete leaping and catching him an inch from the floor.
Myka looked at the headphones in her hands and then at the man on the floor. She wound the cord around the headphones and pressed them into Steve's waiting hands. "Okay. Wow. That was really easy." A spark ran through her when she released the headphones and she shivered. They were definitely not normal.
"I liked the music, though! I wonder what it was." Pete lifted the headphones as if he was about to put them on. Myka immediately smacked them out of his hands. He made a face at her, leaning down to pick them up. This time he put on one of the purple gloves before he touched the headphones. "Nice to have you back, Mykes."
"Nice to be back, Pete." In that moment, smiling with adrenaline and victory, enjoying her squabbling with Pete more than she would ever admit to, she meant it.
Pete dropped the headphones into the silver bag Claudia handed him. A shower of sparks shot up, and Claudia took the bag from him, dropping it into her backpack.
"Item one, neutralized," she said with a triumphant fist-pump. "Let's go grab another."
"We got lucky with this one," Myka said, frowning. "It might not be as easy to find another."
Pete dragged the unconscious man across the room, pulling him up onto an overstuffed couch. "Then we'd better start looking. Keep an eye open for weirdness."
Steve held the door open, and they proceeded out into the hall. Claudia, bright-eyed and chatty, kept Myka engaged with a description of some of the different technology they had back at the Hub. The Rift Manipulator was fascinating and prompted a further discussion of Torchwood's goals, the Ghost Machine sounded too strange to be real, and the revelation that Claudia used a "Gizmo" similar to the Doctor's screwdriver was interesting. But a data scanner able to digitize and translate books was the most appealing to Myka. She made a mental note to ask the Doctor about getting her hands on something like that.
"Hey, nerds!" Pete shouted, hands cupped around his mouth as he walked backwards. "I think we found something!"
Myka and Claudia caught up to the men. Pete pointed at a long storefront window—or the remnants of a window. Glass covered the ground, and shards jutted out all around the frame. There was no blood visible on the glass, but it was too wet and dark outside to be certain.
"Have you checked the door? We need to get inside," Myka said.
Pete fumbled with the door handle, but it was firmly locked. "Luckily we've been given a nice way inside," he pointed out, and before Myka could object, he climbed in over the broken glass. She frowned and followed him cautiously.
Signs in the room revealed it as a bakery. With that realization, Pete immediately went to the counter, and he stuck a Danish in his mouth before gathering two handfuls of pastries.
"Pete," Myka complained. He mumbled through his mouthful of pastry.
"It's the middle of the day. Why isn't anyone here?" Claudia asked.
"Well, the owner must have been here earlier if the counters are stocked. But it's definitely abandoned now."
Steve bent down to study the glass on the ground. He pulled out a cell phone and snapped a quick photo of the broken window. "For our records," he said to Myka's inquiring glance. "We need to find the vandal. I don't think he or she came in. Looks like they broke the window and left."
Myka tapped her fingers together as she considered that. "Where do we find our hit-and-run window smasher?"
As if in answer to her question, the sound of shattering glass rang out, barely audible and far away.
"I heard glass break!"
"Glory glory hallelujah," Claudia exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "Today is the easiest day at work ever!"
This time they left through the door. Pete shoved his pastries into his pockets as they strode down the street despite the revolted noises his three companions made.
"Dude," Claudia said. He grinned, unabashed, and licked the sugar off his fingers.
"It's this way, I think," Myka said, guiding them to the left. She was proved correct: They turned the corner to be greeted by a figure smashing another large window with a baseball bat.
"Put your hands up," Pete shouted as they approached, seamlessly switching from hungry goofball to competent agent in the easy way that would never cease to bewilder Myka. He drew his electric gun and pointed it at their target.
The figure turned, revealing herself as a teenage girl. She was pale as a ghost in the rain.
"We're here to help you," Myka said. She stepped closer, raising her empty hands. Her voice was soft, calculated to comfort. "Let us help you, okay?"
For a moment, she thought she had succeeded. The girl took a hesitant step towards her, lowering the bat. Then a switch flipped in her and she spun, busting down the remaining window before she ran down the street, surprisingly fast. There was a whole lot of easily-averted running going on lately, Myka thought. Surely it had to end sometime.
But not today. Myka and the Torchwood agents took off after the girl. When the girl turned sharply and ran through an open door, though, she stumbled on the stairs.
Pete fired the gun then, and a bolt of electricity flew past Myka to send the girl to the ground. The baseball bat slipped from limp fingers and bumped down to the bottom of the stairs.
"Is she dead?" Myka demanded, hurrying to the body and steadying the girl before she slid any further down the stairs. She flipped the girl over, feeling her wrist for a pulse. She found it.
"No, it just stuns. We can crank it up and probably kill someone but stunning's better. It results in some memory-loss, too."
"I need one of those," Myka said, admiring the weapon. She wished the Doctor wasn't so dramatically anti-gun. There was nothing handier than a gun in an emergency, whether it fit a Time Lord's moral code or not.
"There's no way that bat's fitting in one of our baggies," Claudia said, snapping on a purple glove. She poked the handle of the bat into a bag, but no sparks came from it this time. "We can't do anything with this."
A silent moment of frustration passed as they considered their next option. Claudia tried putting the other end of the bat in the bag. Nothing. She tried the handle again. Still nothing.
"Maybe it's not the bat." Myka patted the girl's pockets, feeling for any other item that could have caused the girl to go after the windows so viciously. When her fingers brushed against the girl's belt, a sharp "Oh!" flew from her. She hesitated before setting her fingers on the belt again. This time she was confident it was the belt that caused the sudden, strange flow of rage in her. She was only barely able to pull her hand away. "I think I found it."
Claudia stepped in, putting on the second glove and kneeling and unbuckling the girl's belt with her gloved hands. It was black leather covered in rows of silvery studs. Claudia held it up appreciatively. "It's kind of cute, isn't it?"
Steve crinkled his nose. "In a tween kind of way. C'mon, Claud, drop it in the bag." Into the bag it went, with a flurry of sparks. Claudia sealed the bag and dropped it into her backpack to join the headphones.
"It's fun! Not tween," Claudia sniffed. "Just because you're the resident gay dude doesn't make you the resident fashion expert too. I mean, look at what you're wearing now! You look more like a grandpa than Artie does."
"This outfit is practical and comfortable!"
"Myka, you're wearing a cute outfit. Tell Steve that I am way better at fashion than him!"
Myka considered Steve's sloppy thermal shirt and loose jeans and Claudia's gaudy top and vest. She wouldn't particularly want either of them dressing her, but to be fair, clothing wasn't something she put much thought into. "Um…you both look more stylish than Pete," she offered.
Pete elbowed Myka. "Hey, don't contribute to them stealing our shtick. We're supposed to be the adorable bickering partners."
She rolled her eyes, but she still smiled. Her other bickering partner was back at the Hub waiting on them, though, and she wasn't interested in delaying her return any longer than necessary. "Alright, alright. Fun time is over, guys. We need to keep moving. Time is of the essence, right?"
Claudia stuck her tongue out at Steve, who stuck his out at her in return. Pete walked down the stairs backwards, bragging loudly about that skill as he did so. Smiles were exchanged between the entire group, confident and proud. They were a team, if only for one afternoon, Myka realized, and in that moment, she felt at home.